Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman covers Southeast Michigan, economic justice and civil rights. He is a former Michigan Chronicle senior editor and served as the American Black Journal segment host on Detroit Public Television. He has written and published four books on black life in Detroit, including Soul on Air: Blacks Who Helped to Define Radio in Detroit and Forever Young: A Coleman Reader. His work has been cited by the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press, History Channel and CNN. Additionally, he was an essayist for the award-winning book, Detroit 1967: Origins, Impacts, Legacies. Ken has served as a spokesperson for the Michigan Democratic Party, Detroit Public Schools, U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence. Previously to joining the Advance, he worked for the Detroit Federation of Teachers as a communications specialist. He is a Historical Society of Michigan trustee and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit advisory board member.

On this day in 1964: LBJ lifts up ‘Great Society’ policies during U of M commencement 

By: - May 22, 2022

On May 22, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson called on the American government to implement policy ideas that would come to be known as the “Great Society” during spring commencement at the University of Michigan. He delivered the address before 90,000 people at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. Gov. George Romney, who was later considered a […]

On this day in 1972: Segregationist George Wallace wins Mich. Democratic presidential primary 

By: - May 16, 2022

Former Alabama Gov. George Wallace — who once declared, “I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” — won the Michigan Democratic Presidential Primary on May 16, 1972, with ease.   He outpaced former Vice President Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota, U.S. Sen. George McGovern of South Dakota and U.S. Rep. Shirley Chisholm of New York City, […]

On this day in 1968: RFK visits Detroit just before fatal shooting

By: - May 15, 2022

On May 15, 1968, presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-N.Y.) toured Detroit — only 23 days before he was killed in Los Angeles. The five-hour visit came as the race for the Democratic nomination was heating up. Vice President Hubert Humphrey, also a Democratic presidential candidate, held a campaign stop in Detroit the […]

On this day in 1968: MLK’s Poor People’s Campaign rallies in Detroit

By: - May 13, 2022

On May 13, 1968, Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s Campaign was carried out without him in Detroit. America’s leading civil rights leader was murdered on April 4 of that year.  The objective of the national effort was to gain “economic justice” for poor people in the United States. It was organized by King and the […]

Janitors rally in Detroit for higher wages

By: - May 11, 2022

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) janitors and city and county elected officials rallied Wednesday at Hart Plaza in Detroit in an effort to secure a new employment contract.  There, they chanted about their demand for a wage increase: “If we don’t get it, shut it down!”  Currently, janitors in downtown Detroit buildings work on hourly […]

On this day in 1994: Green becomes the first African American U.S. attorney in Michigan history 

By: - May 6, 2022

On May 6, 1994, Saul Green was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as U.S. attorney for Michigan’s Eastern District. The Detroit native became the first African American to hold the post.  Green, who was nominated by Democratic President Bill Clinton, graduated in 1965 from Mackenzie High School and in 1969 from the University of Michigan. […]

On this day in 1903: Booker T. Washington visits Detroit, calls for African-American opportunity

By: - May 5, 2022

On May 5, 1903, African-American leader Booker T. Washington addressed an audience of Blacks and white in downtown Detroit.  “Any race that yields to the temptation of hating another race because of its color weakens and narrows itself,” said Washington, who was principal of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute of Tuskegee, Ala.(later known as […]

Coalition announces plans to remember ‘horrific’ murder of Vincent Chin in 1982

By: - May 3, 2022

A coalition of national and local groups announced on Monday plans to carry out a four-day commemoration in Detroit to remember a Chinese American man who was fatally beaten in 1982. The Vincent Chin 40th Remembrance & Rededication will reflect and continue efforts to push back against hate, planners said during a news conference in […]

On this day in 1948: The U.S. Supreme Court sides with Detroit Black homeowners

By: - May 3, 2022

On May 3, 1948, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a set of decisions that allowed a Black family in Detroit to remain in their home after a white neighborhood association moved to force them out.  The property deed connected to Orsel and Minnie McGhee’s 4626 Seebaldt Street west side home, which they purchased in […]

On this day in 1972: Michigan anti-busing activist rallies in the nation’s capital

By: - April 27, 2022

On April 27, 1972, Pontiac anti-busing activist Irene McCabe arrived in Washington, D.C,. to demonstrate her opposition to public school efforts across the nation to racially integrate classrooms with white and Black students to achieve equality in resource distribution. There, McCabe’s National Action Group caravanned in automobiles and were met with eight members who walked […]

Michigan opioid settlement funds will provide ‘welcome relief,’ leaders say

By: - April 26, 2022

Andre Johnson, who leads a noted drug recovery program in Detroit, says that a historic opioid settlement and the funding that organizations like his that are poised to provide much needed resources “is a monumental opportunity for Michiganders to change the landscape for our citizens that have suffered significantly from opioid use disorders.” “We need […]

On this day in 1837: Detroit abolitionists form advocacy group 

By: - April 26, 2022

On April 26, 1837, the Detroit Anti-Slavery Society was created.  Some of its founders, both Blacks and white, had participated in Underground Railroad operations, the secret system of transportation routes that assisted slaves from the American South to freedom in northern states like Michigan and portions of Canada.   The group included prominent Black abolitionists Robert […]